Spring 2003

Table of Contents


By Cathy Jameson, Ph.D.

About the author

Cathy Jameson is president of Jameson Management, Inc., an international dental lecture and consulting firm. An accomplished speaker, writer and workshop leader, Cathy holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, where she focused her work on effective, stress-controlled management. As a Certified Effectiveness Trainer, Cathy integrates her academic background and her knowledge of communication into the management of dental teams and practices. Her 28 years of hands-on experience in her husband's practice makes her strategies workable and effective.

Cathy has been a featured speaker for the major dental meetings throughout the world and is also an adjunct faculty member of the Oklahoma University College of Dentistry and New York University College of Dentistry. Cathy's books, Great Communication = Great Production and Collect What You Produce, are top sellers in the dental arena for Pennwell Books. Cathy divides her time between her travels around the world and her horse ranch in southern Oklahoma. She may be reached at 877-369-5558 or via e-mail at: cathy@jamesonmanagement.com.

Attitude. What is attitude? We hear and read so much about the "A" word. But what is it-really? And why is it important?

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says that attitude is the secret word. It's the difference, the margin between the has-beens, the "almost" fans and the stellar finishers. Attitude, as defined by Webster, is: "The manner of acting, feeling or thinking that shows one's disposition, opinion, etc."

I can tell you that as a management consultant who has functioned in hundreds of practices across this country, I know that nothing makes a more significant difference in a practice's ability to achieve goals than attitude!

Recently, I was providing my first two days of consultation with a practitioner and her team in the Midwest. The doctor had shared with me her frustration with her team. She said, "They aren't motivated. They won't do what I asked them to do. They 'nickel and dime' me to death," and so on.

I approached the consultation with an open mind, but with a watchful eye. I worked hard at gaining the confidence of the team before I began teaching the programs and systems. Just as they began to respond positively and to see the light, so to speak, the doctor began to present us with what I call "Yowbuts." For instance: "Yowbut, our patients are different than any other patients. They won't do that!" and "Yowbut, we've always done it this way, and our patients won't accept the change," and "Yowbut, the people on this team can't do that," etc.

I couldn't believe it! Every time the team began to get excited about the possibilities of enrichment, growth and refinement, the doctor would squelch their enthusiasm with her negative protests and assertions.

She had legitimate concerns. However, a legitimate concern differs from a "Yowbut." A legitimate concern is a problem area that needs attention before a solution can take place. The attitude required to accomplish the solution is one of belief that the problem can be dealt with, that a solution can be defined, and that the desired results can be achieved. If one approaches a situation with a positive attitude-a genuine belief that a solution WILL be attained-then the possibility and probability of a solution is at hand.

However, if going into the problem-solving discussion, a negative attitude persists, or if the participants in the problem-solving discussion dwell on all the reasons why nothing can possibly work, then I promise, nothing will work.

To see this doctor crush the enthusiasm, hope and belief of her team was like watching a cocoon begin to hatch only to have the wings of the butterfly plucked as it was about to take flight. I hurt for them.

Earl Nightengale says, "You become what you think about." At one time, this was a theory. Now it is a proven fact. Mr. Nightengale goes on to say that "whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe so shall he achieve." The thoughts that penetrate your mind are the results that will be achieved. If you constantly doubt your ability to accomplish a task; if you constantly resign yourself to the devastating effects of the "Yowbut" disease; then you can count on not accomplishing your goals. You are choosing not to succeed, choosing to be depressed, choosing to squelch your potential. In short, you are choosing to fail.

I have decided that I do not have room in my mind for negatives. I, like you, have negative experiences. I, like you, also have negative thoughts that try to penetrate my mind. However, I know that I will become what I think about. Therefore, when a negative thought enters my mind, I visually imagine cutting it out and throwing it away. Then I purposefully fill that created void with a positive reading, a positive thought, positive music, a positive person, etc.

If I become what I think about, then I choose to become positive, energetic and successful. The choice is mine. No one creates my happiness except me. No one chooses my attitude but me. No one chooses my success, or lack of it, other than me. And it's the same for you!

Examine yourself. Listen to yourself! Are you a victim of the "Yowbut" disease? Do you have a fever? Evaluate the symptoms. What's the prescription? How do you heal from such a devastating disease?

  1. Honestly take your temperature.

  2. Eliminate those things that are promoting the disease.

  3. Define what you can do to eliminate the disease.

  4. Visualize and focus on accomplishment. See yourself achieving goals, resolving problems and getting desired results.

  5. Each time a negative thought sticks its nasty head in your way, get rid of it, ignore it or turn it into a positive thought. Prove that your strength is greater.

For example: The doctor is considering the purchase of a moderately priced, but excellent computer imaging system. The team, understanding the advantages of the system for case presentations and case acceptance, is excited about the possibilities. The investment for the doctor would be approximately $300 per month.

The doctor stews over the fear of the investment, over their inability to make it pay for itself. The team on the other hand, feels a sincere need to further educate patients, to promote an understanding of dental health. They have a firm understanding of computer imaging and believe that they can encourage patients to say 'Yes' to dental recommendations with the visual help of the imaging system. They believe that they can help generate an additional $300 per day with the system. What a difference attitude can make!

Doctor: We cannot afford this. It costs $300 per month. We can't do this.
We can increase productivity by $300 per day by educating patients about the status of their mouths and helping them understand the value of the dental restorations. .

I can promise you that both attitudes are correct. In the doctor's situation, he or she had a strong belief that using the imaging system to pay for itself would not work. Therefore, it probably wouldn't!

However, from the team's point of view, using the system would work. That belief, coupled with a committed desire to succeed, would prevail. A goal is reached when a firm understanding of a desired result is backed by a positive belief that it can be accomplished.

I don't know about you, but I do not have the time or the mental and emotional resources to let the effects of negativity take away from my life. Don't kid yourself; you are in control of your destiny! And nothing gets in your way more than you! So you decide. Do you want to bow to the effects of negativity, or will you choose to salute the benefits of positive thought processes, change the way you think and adopt the attitude of success?

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